Wednesday, April 06, 2011

a hollywood love story

Original post on The Urban Grocer here: Food, Travel & TV: Shannon Keenan Demers

What better way to share an Urban Grocer piece, then on the birthday of the fabulous Ms. Shannon Keenan Demers. We love you so much... Like all great Hollywood stories, I first met Shannon Keenan Demers poolside at a Los Angeles hotel. With an impressive resume chock full of food and travel television production – and as co-owner of 2Tall Productions with her husband Mike Demers – she’s spent her career as a producer trekking across continents. From working as a Series Producer on Bizarre Foods to serving as an Executive Producer and Showrunner on our very own The Urban Grocer, I chatted it up with Shannon about her life in travel, food, and television from behind the camera. And because Shannon has as much experience as she is tall (which is very), we’re running this interview in two-parts. So stay tuned; this is “to be continued…”

The Urban Grocer: While working on Bizarre Foods, what were your most memorable experiences?

Shannon Keenan Demers: I could go on for days about the amazing experiences my husband, Mike Demers, and I had on Bizarre Foods. Mike was the cameraman and I was the producer and most of the time, it was just the two of us and Andrew Zimmern, the host. We spent time in remote South America jungle lodges we could only access by taking a hollowed out canoe over a black lake filled with piranhas. We spent two days riding around the Moroccan desert in 100 degree heat with a dead goat in the back of our van that was meant to be a gift for someone hosting us deep in the Atlas Mountains. We spent a scary day locked in a room with a witch doctor performing a cleansing ceremony with homemade hooch, open flame and live guinea pigs. We ate haggis in Scotland, balut in the Philippines, and fresh iguana in Trinidad. And when I say “we,” I guess I should clarify – I mostly took pictures….

TUG: What do you think is important about food and travel on television?

SKD: I think shows like ours – like The Urban Grocer – are so important because they really inspire people to try new things and visit places they might never have considered before. And you don’t have to be a hard core foodie or a seasoned traveler to get lost in the stories we’re telling – you just have to sit back and enjoy the journey!

TUG: You have been such a significant part of The Urban Grocer television special. What aspect of the show excites you most?

SKD: What I’m most excited about is that we finally get to share our amazing experience in Buenos Aires (BA) with the Cooking Channel audience! BA has such mad pride for it’s culinary scene – you could just see it on the faces of every single person we met while we were there – they just couldn’t wait to share their totally unique take on their local cuisine. That excitement spread quickly to our entire crew, each and every one of whom worked tirelessly to execute the exact vision that we set out to capture from the start. I couldn’t be prouder of everyone that was part of our BA family.

Wanna know more about Shannon’s experience working in travel and food television production? Watch this space for Part II of our interview, set to run on Thursday, 7 April.

And of course, check out Shannon’s great work as Executive Producer on The Urban Grocer premiering on the Cooking Channel, April 10 at 8pm ET.

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